A favorite of my family's (especially of the under-10set), these cookies are traditionally called "taralles." They start as a very simple batter-like dough that bakes up more like a cake than a cookie. In our house, we would put a lemony icing on top and add fun colored sprinkles. They are very easy to love. Dave came up with a more adult version (though I can't imagine any kid hesitating for one second before popping one of these into her mouth) that incorporates cornmeal and buttermilk. When he first made them, I thought, "Why is he messing with perfection?" But after tasting the new version, I must say, perfection took on a whole new meaning.
Click here to see How to Make Perfect Cookie Dough.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, lemon zest, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, and mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture and then ½ of the buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in the remaining flour mixture with a rubber spatula until it is fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, prepare the lemon glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, and confectioners’ sugar. The glaze should be as thick as glue. If the glaze is too thin, thicken it with additional confectioners’ sugar. Set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, place 1-tablespoon rounds of dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies.
Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes, until they are golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
While the cookies are still warm, drizzle a small amount (about ½ teaspoon) of the lemon glaze over each cookie, and then sprinkle on 1⁄8 teaspoon of the poppy seeds. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.